Sunday, August 21, 2005

Almost Too Late to Celebrate

This is a photo I submitted to Steven for the AOL-J 2nd Anniversary "Jallery."  Unfortuately, I submitted it too late for him to use it, but here it is anyway.

Sunset on Mount Lemmon, March 2005. 

The date of the AOL Journals two-year anniversary is already over in two U.S. time zones.  I've almost missed it, but not quite.  It's been that kind of day.

See, I was up late Saturday night for all the usual reasons, including a trip to the gym, laundry, and writing my Mall of installment. I didn't feel quite up to snuff as I did the leg and hip machines, and I quit after only ten minutes on the treadmill.  I wasn't quite sure why.  I was just more tired than the night before, and breathing harder. Minutes eight through ten felt as hard as minutes twenty to twenty five (on the way to 30) usually do.  So I stopped and left, and bought chicken wings on the way home as usual.

Today I woke up with a killer backache.  I took four ibuprofen, and went to church anyway.  Fortunately, I didn't have to serve at Mass.  I was able to sit in the pew next to my friend Kevin, with my purse for a lower back cushion.

Is it stress, or did I injure myself somehow on the hack squats?  I dunno.  But I was going to put in an estimated six hours at the office, doing fixed assets.  Instead I went to bed, and woke up with my back all horrible again.  Then we went shopping at Safeway, and when we got home John popped in the first episode of Magnum PI on DVD. That was pretty much it for the day.  Not what I planned, at all!  I never made it to the office. I feel guilty about that, even though nobody asked me to go in, even though I can work around the stuff I wanted to get done. So it could be a stress backache, or an injury, or both.

This was cool.So what have I to say about the anniversary? Not much, really.  It seems to have been very quiet, quite unlike the month-long blowout people put together last summer.  And that's okay.  For those of us who blog here every day (or even read them, nearly every day), the AOL-J community is part of our lives.  We celebrate it every time we click on a new entry or comment alert, every time we write an entry, every time we're out and about, seeing whatever is around us in terms of how we are going to write about it for photograph it for our next posting.  Tonight, when I told John I wanted to see more of Hawaii, he said, "You just want to blog about it."  No, that wasn't why, really!  But of course, I would blog about it.

At its core, an AOL Journal does two things for its owner.  First, it's a wonderful combination of diary and soapbox.  Within the bounds of TOS, we can be as personal as we want, as political as we want, as silly or profound as we want, sad or funny or both.  We can name names, or be more circumspect.  We can write whatever we want, photograph whatever we want, and get it published instantly.  And the more we do that, because the beast must be fed, we better we become at the writing or photography or both.  That's powerful.

And if we put forth any effort at all in making our journals known, people will come to see what we posted, and sometimes leave a comment to tell us what they think.  That's powerful, too, because by and large, we want an audience for this stuff.  That's the second thing an AOL Journal does.  It connects us with readers, most of them other bloggers.  People offer us their approval, their appreciation, their support, and sometimes their outrage. Link by link, we find our way around to other journals, learning the stories of the people who post on them.  Then we're posting our own comments of appreciation and support and occasional outrage.  And along the way, we become a community.  And some of us become friends. 

I'm very grateful for both of these functions.  I love being able to write about whatever is on my mind, more or less, knowing that at least a few people will read what I have to say.  I love following an alert the moment it pops up, to see what Becky or Carly just posted.  I love that I now have friends at opposite ends of the country, whom I never would have met otherwise.  I love that when I'm upset, people cheer me up via comments - and do their best for other AOL-Jers with far more serious problems.

I think I'm going to be here for quite a long time.

Oops.  Another time zone down.  I'm going to throw in the survey from Patrick that Old Dog posted half an hour ago, and call it an entry:

Here are the questions:

1. The first one involves what you'd call this set of questions.  Here's a list...pick the one you like best and make it the title of your entry when you answer these questions in your journal:

Anniversary Appraisal
Anniversary Assessment
Anniversary Audit
Anniversary Examination
Celebration Survey
Celebratory Census
Commemorative Confessions
Festival Feedback
Milestone Marker
Party Poll
Party Proclamations
Revel & Reveal
Second Celebration Confessions
Second-Year Survey
Special Day Disclosures

2. Are there any certain AOL Journals that you can't do without?  List a few of your favorites.

, Where Life Takes You, Jersey Girl Journal, Alphawoman's Blog, Aurora Walking Vacation.  Links to these and more are on my sidebar.

3. What are the best and worst things that happened during J-land year 2004-2005?

I don't read as many journals as, for example, Becky, so I've missed many of the traumas.  I know that people have lost loved ones, or struggled with illness, been caught in insoluable family dramas with parents or siblings or in-laws, or had to make tough decisions about jobs and careers.  The one that probably meant the most to me personally was learning that an extremely talented photographer and blogger has had esteem and mental health issues.  I don't want to point to her here in that context, but I wish her well, always.

As for the good news, I finished school and got a more lucrative job.  It was a terrible wrench to leave WWT after twelve years, but it was worth it.  I think one of my AOL-J friends is stronger and happier because of this past year of blogging, and she's probably not the only one.  I'm sure there's more, but that will do for now.

4. What changes would you most like to see made to AOL Journals during the third year?

1. Easy, relatively painless archiving.
2. More and customizable "moods."  I quit using that function over a year ago because it was too limited.  I still use the ones on LiveJournal because there are a zillion choices, and they're illustrated.
3. What's it gonna take for someone to fix the glitch that makes 12 point text display as ten point, huh?  It's been that way since I started in March '04, and it's a pain.
4. Background options without having to know HTML.
5. Larger and more customizable templates for the journal as a whole, most especially a bigger About Me area to accomodate more graphics and text.

5. Has one of your favorite reads disappeared?  Who would you most like to see return to AOL J-land during the third year?

Come back, Mumsy!

6. What's the silliest/stupidest/most embarrassing mistake you've ever blogged and overlooked?
Back in June, I was outraged by a hoax website that I took at face value.  D'oh!

7. What's the newest journal you've discovered that you've put into your daily rotation?  (Not necessarily the newest to J-land, but the newest to you.)

The Daily Snooze.

Thanks for answering these questions  and  for being a part of AOL J-land!

Thanks to Patrick and Jennifer and Vivian for this survey.



ryanagi said...

Excellent. :-)

shellys555 said...

Someone posted on one of the journal message boards a while back that 10 pt and 12 pt are backwards. I don't know if 10 pt is exactly 12 pt, but it does appear bigger than 10 pt, so that's what I use. 10 pt

One thing about AOL journals that's a pain is the way they render in Bloglines, which is how I read all journals save for 5 which don't seem to have rss feeds. On other services, if you use color and fonts, I still pretty much see them in black or gray on white or darker gray. Quite readable.

AOL's journals come through with the fonts and colors, but not the backgrounds. So one journal which uses gray on black comes through as light gray on white, and I can barely see the text. Your journal comes through in all sorts of colors. This post, for ex, was more readable to me in Bloglines: green on white. But when you use yellow on a dark color, I get the hard to read yellow on white combo.

Since I don't have time to visit the actual blogs unless I want to comment, I wish AOL journals would render the same as other blog services. Or people would stop using font/background color combos that don't work when the background is stripped out but the font color remains.

ondinemonet said...


One of the best parts of owning my journal has been making great firends like you. You have brought me so many hours of enjoyment with your journal and your striking photograhs, and you are one of a very few people who I trust to tell when things are less the perfect for me. I stand in awe of you for so many reasons, but mostly I am simply thankful for you. Can you believe it's been nearly a year since we met? :) :)

Always, Carly :)

sassydee50 said...

Never too late!  I enjoyed reading this entry esp. about how you described the power and satisfaction of instant publishing. I hope your back is getting better & Happy Anniversay! Sassy ;-)

viviansullinwank said...

Well, I see your awesome photo is in the 'Jallery' afterall....seems it's never too late for a thing of beauty. And this entry was also a thing of beauty. You really captured the essence of what journals are and what they do for the readers and the writers!  I thank my lucky stars many MANY times that I'm a member of this awesome community!!  Hope your back is better.....and I Hope we get our wish that Mumsy comes back!


happinessdreams said...

Happy Anniversarry! Great photo!